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 Post subject: FABULOUS FOUR DAYS IN KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 10:12 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 10:30 pm
Posts: 418
A while ago my wife upgraded her camera and bought a Nikon D90 with a Sigma 70-300 lens. Now we needed somewhere to try the camera out and what a better place to do so than in the Kruger Park. At very short notice we managed to book 1 night at Pretorius Kop and 2 nights at Berg en Dal. It was truly one of the best 4 days we have ever experienced in KNP. I will start my trip report with accomanying pics tomorrow. However, I must mention that we could not get the camera to co-operate and some of the pics will be a bit out of focus so please bear with us. Luckily we took her Fuji S5800 along as well.
Chat to you again tomorrow.

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Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark. Author unknown.


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 Post subject: Re: FABULOUS FOUR DAYS IN KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 1:03 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 10:30 pm
Posts: 418
Thanks very much Elsa. Hope that I can live up to your expectations.
DAY 1: MONDAY 10 MAY 2010:
I was awakened by what seemed the distant rumble of thunder. Dozed off again. Next moment my delightful doze was interrupted by a bright flash that lit up the bedroom and that sizzling crack of thunder that one only seems to get on the highveld. A very unseasonal thunder storm I thought to myself. Looked at the time - 03:00. Drowsily I remembered that I had set the alarm for 04:00 for a 05:00 start to head off to the Kruger. Lay awhile listenening to the rain get heavier and heavier and the thunder and lighting continued unabated. This did not deter my enthusiasm for driving the 400km to Kruger. At 03:45 the rain and thunder rumbled off in an eastery direction. I could not wait any longer to make like elephant dung and hit the road. I woke my wife and with due haste did all things that people do when they wake up, packed the car and by 04:50 we were on our way with another thunderstorm approaching from the west. Onto the N4 and off with lighting in front of us and behind us. Were we ever so lucky to leave in the break between two storms.Got to our usual breakfast stop at Millys just before Machadadorp where we managed to leave the stormy weather behind us.
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Two pics of the weather we had just come through. Very grateful to see the sun shining from the direction we were headed.

After a very hearty breakfast we took off again and headed east. We had decided as our first night was to be at Pretorius Kop we would go in at Phabeni gate. Just outside White River I took the wrong turning onto the R538 insyead of carrying on straight on the R40. We decided then and there that we would go in at Numbi as we both believe that if something happens to you it always happens for the best. And so it proved to be. More of this just now. Not a bad road but one cannot do more that 60kmh but it is a lot shorter than going around on the R40 to Phabeni. Arrived at Numbi at about 10:00 and after checking in got into the car and RELAXED. I do not think anyone can describe that feeling as you settle down to drive at 20-30 kmh for the next few days. As we we were still too early to check in at Pretorius Kop we decided to stick to the H1-1, turn right onto the H-3 and right again onto the H2-2 and to P. Kop in time to check in. However this was not to be as, in our eagerness to spot game, we missed the turn off to the H1-1. OK, no problem. We will now do the same route but in the opposite direction. Remember what I said above about things always happening for the best. Our first sighting was just after we had got onto the H2-. A ginormous stick or should I say branch insect right in the middle of the road. It must have been at least 30cm long.

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We continued on our way and at about 12:00 and about a kilometre before Voortrekker water hole we came across a bakkie travelling very slowly. I stayed behind it trying to see what they had seen. From behind it looked like a baboon walking along the side of the road. The driver of the bakkie waved to me to come next to him. This is what we saw.

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A mommy leopard and her cub walking down the road.

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Remember what I said about things happening for the best. My apologies for the out of focus pics. I am not sure if it is was because Joan was shaking with excitement at seeing this mommy and cub or that I was continuing to drive very slowly along a very bumpy road in order to keep up with them. We followed them for about a kilometre before a car from the opposite direction sent them into the long grass at Voortrekker water hole. We waited around for about 30 minutes hoping she would come out again but it remained quiet. We sat for a while to allow the adrenalin time to settle down. Can this sighting, after only being in Kruger for 2 hours, be bettered in our next 4 days????? Had lunch at Afsaal where we saw this little buck ?????? walking among the tables and chairs.

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Can someone tell me what buck this is. Please excuse the dustbin.

After lunch we headed north on the H3 where we came across a small herd of elephant just far away enough not to pose any danger.

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Our last photo of the day was of my favourite bird.

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Arrived at Pretorius Kop in time to check in, unpack, braai and bed.
Nothing, but nothing can beat that first nights sleep in the Kruger. Wonder why I deamt about leopard? Chat to you again tomorrow.

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Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark. Author unknown.


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 Post subject: Re: FABULOUS FOUR DAYS IN KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 1:19 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 870
Location: All over the place!!
The little buck you photographed at Afsaal is a female Bushbuck.

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If you want something you never had, do something you have never done.

No to Hotels in Kruger

Every time I get the news that another Rhino has died, a piece of me dies too - Edna the Brave


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 Post subject: Re: FABULOUS FOUR DAYS IN KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 10:58 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 10:30 pm
Posts: 418
DAY 2 - TUESDAY 11 MAY 2010
First of all my apologies for putting two of the same photograph of the leopard up yesterday. This is the one that should have been there.

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Woke up at 04:30 as we had to pack the car for our move to Berg en Dal. At the gate by 06:00. It was still pretty dark when the gates opened. We took the H2-2 down to Afsaal. Not far down the road we came across a rhino standing in the middle of the road with no intentions of going anywhere. Just our luck as we were in a hurry to see if we could perhaps catch a sight of our leopard with her cub near Voortrekker water hole. After 15 minutes he slowly ambled off into the bush. Still too dark to take a decent photograph. Going through on of the dips with water in we saw this puff adder lying in the water. Unfortunately it was dead as, as we rode through the water it just floated and bobbed around in the wakes.

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When we got to Voortrekker water hole we stopped and searched for the leopard. We sat there for a good half an hour scanning the bushes and trees but there was no sight of her. Arrived at Afsaal in time for some breakfast. Not much to see until travelling north on the S114 we saw the car behind us flashing his lights. We turned back and his wife pointed out 3 cheetah in a thicket about 30 metres from the road. They were very well hidden and were lying down for most of time. Now and again one would sit up and look around. My apologies for the quality of this photo.

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Our thanks to the folks who signalled us to turn back.

After a comfort break at Skukuza we headed back down the H1-1 and H3 toward Afsaal for lunch. Got these two pics on the way down.

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A little further down the road we came across this lonely lioness resting in the shade of a tree on the side of the road. She looked totally despondent that we actually felt very sorry for her. Our thoughts were that she had been kicked out of a pride and was now on her own.

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On arrival at Berg en Dal we unpacked and then took a walk on the Rhino Trail where we came across a small herd of elephant right next to the fence munching away a some very fresh greenery.

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The state of the fence had us a bit worried.

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She was not at all worried about us being right next to her. After a short while she made her way across the stream where she stood and made a rumbling noise. Next moment a little one came trundling out from behind some bushes and proceeded to feed.

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We were both completely breathless after this close experience with this ellie family. Time for another braai and bed. Chat again tomorrow.

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Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark. Author unknown.


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 Post subject: Re: FABULOUS FOUR DAYS IN KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 7:53 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 10:30 pm
Posts: 418
DAY 3 - WEDNESDAY 13 MAY 2010
Slept in a bit this morning as we did not have to pack the car to move to another camp. Got up at 05:30 and were out of camp by 06:20. Joan says that I must really be getting on in age as I would normally be the first car at the gate. Took the S110 to Matjulu waterhole. We had seen on the sightings maps over the previous two days that leopard had been seen on this road on both days. Were we to have such luck on the third day??? Drove very slowly to the waterhole as the light was not at all good due to the sun still being behind the mountains that surround Berg en Dal. On the way back we saw a bakkie parked on the right hand side of the road with the guy looking and pointing out the window. We stopped behind him but could not see anything. He then asked if we could see it. "What" I asked. "The leopard on the big rock" he said. Both Joan and I could see nothing. After a while he said that he would move forward and that I should move in where he had parked. We inched forward and then we saw it - the most magnificent leopard we have ever seen. Through binoculors he looked even more magnificent.

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Sorry about the quality of the photo but it was still fairly dark as mentioned previously. Joan took about 15 photos and this one is about the best. We sat and watched it for about twenty minutes. I turned to say something to Joan and when I looked back the leopard had gone. The bakkie in front of us, the guy who told us to move into his place, had also gone. As we moved forward we realised that from where he had parked to allow us to move in his place one could not see the rock that the leopard was on. To this gentleman, I hope you read this trip report. Thank you so much for giving up your place so that we could also enjoy this sighting. People seem to be different in the park nowadays as this was the third time in as many days that someone had allowed us to see their sighting.
From the S120 we crossed the over to the S121 to the Miambane Loop to go check out the Gardenia Hide. Never been here before. Unfortunately there was nothing to be seen. Turned right onto the S114 where we got these two guys sizing each other up

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Almost a mirror image.

At the Biyamiti Weir we saw this fellow sunbathing on the weir wall.

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Afsaal for lunch again. I must say that we found the flies at Afsaal to be an absolute pain in the proverbial. We have never known Afsaal to have so many flies. There was also a notice up that the Scops Owl which is resident in one of the trees there was away on holiday. Slowly worked our way back to Berg en Dal with only a sighting of 2 Black Rhino but they were too far in to photograph and against the light. So a day that started off with a bang ended up on a quiet note. Maybe it was a good thing as I do not think my heart could have stood up to any more excitement. Until tomorrow - take care.

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Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark. Author unknown.


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 Post subject: Re: FABULOUS FOUR DAYS IN KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 8:37 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 10:30 pm
Posts: 418
Thank you to all for your kind comments and for taking the time to read my trip report.
DAY 4 - THURSDAY 13 MAY 2010.
With very heavy hearts we packed up and loaded the car. It was our last day and we were going to try and drag it out as long as possible. We therefore decided to go out at Phabeni Gate by the latest 13:00. Farewell to Berg en Dal and the broken fence on the Rhino Trail, ellies at very close range and a Leopard on a rock. We turned on to the S110 and went off in search of the leopard from yesterday. Try as we might we could not see him/her. Moved on and took a right turn onto the S120, across the H3 onto the S114. Left onto S118 and right onto the H3. Gave Renoster Pan a miss as we have never seen anything there. Stopped at Afsaal for a latish breakfast. When we got to the car after breakfast we this flying thingie on the boot.

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Can anyone tell us what this is?

At Afsaal we had seen on the sightings map that Wild Dog had been seen at Renoster Pan earlier in the morning and again just north of Afsaal. That was it. We were going to take the H3 all the way to Skukuza if necessary as we could not remember when last we had seen Wild Dog in Kruger. Travelled very slowly up the H3 straining our eyes to catch a glimpse of Wild Dog. Just before Biyamiti River Joan said that she wished she had brought the left over steak from last nights braai with to drag along behind the car in an endeavour to try and entice any cats or dogs out of the bush and into the road. With that we crested a rise and this is what we saw.

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A pack of 9 Wild Dog trotting up the road in front of us.

We had front row seats. As they trotted along we moved along with them. At times we had them so close to the side of the car I could have reached out and patted them. I don't think I would have got my hand back. At other times some they were in front, next to and behind our car. We must have followed them for a good 30 minutes when we came across the Biyamiti River bridge. This is where we saw something strange. About four of the dogs trotted on to the bridge quite happily until they looked sideways and realised that they were not on solid ground anymore. At least this is what we think happened. They then seemed to become very nervous and backtracked to the road. From there they walked down to the river bed and seemed a lot happier.

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My, what big teeth you have.

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My, what mean eyes you have.

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My, but it is long way down there.

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Come on gang don't be chicken.

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Chicken!!! Who said something about chicken. I'm hungry.

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Come on in gang the waters lovely.

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"Go on you go first." "No I insist that you go first."

What more can I say. Two hours after arriving in Kruger we see 2 Leopard and two hours before we leave we see 9 Wild Dog.

And so we left Kruger on a high and very pleasant memories of a fabulous four days in Kruger.

Next trip to Kruger:
August 2010
21 Orpen
22, 23 Satara
24, 25 Letaba
26 Satara
27, 28 Lower Sabie
29 Crocodile Bridge
30 Berg en Dal.

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Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark. Author unknown.


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 Post subject: Re: FABULOUS FOUR DAYS IN KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 8:41 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 10:30 pm
Posts: 418
Just to mention our total, shall I say rare sightings:

3 Leopard
1 Lioness
2 Black Rhino
1 Herd Buffalo
9 Wild Dog
3 Cheetah
++++ Elephant
++++ White Rhino
1 very big stick insect.

Not bad for a last minute 4 day visit.

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Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark. Author unknown.


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 Post subject: Re: FABULOUS FOUR DAYS IN KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 1:52 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 10:30 pm
Posts: 418
Hi salamanda. It was only a pleasure to share our excitement with others to enjoy.

Hi fee. Yes we did use the D90 most of the time but let me tell you it is not so easy. Please do not use it on the A setting as you may as well then use any old mik and druk camera. We ruined a lot of pics of the leopard and cub trying to use the D90 as a mik and druk and we eventually switched to the Fuji and got a slightly better shots. With this D90 you must make use of the ISO, f stop etc etc.. I was advised that learning to use a camera such as the D90 is rather like learning to drive a car. In the beginning you think that you will never remember all the settings to use but after a lot of practice is starts to become second nature. Some of the pics were taken with our mik and druk Fuji S5800. I wish you luck with whatever camera you decide to buy.

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Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark. Author unknown.


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